Nine psychology posters included in Scientific Sewanee 2008

On Thursday afternoon, April 16, 2008 those visiting Convocation Hall were able to view nine (of 41) Scientific Sewanee posters presented by psychology students. At least one researcher remained close to each poster to discuss the project with those attending.

Scientific Sewanee is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Physical Plant Services.  The Coordinating Committee were Helen Bateman (psychology), Doug Durig (physics), Julie Lively (biology), and John Shibata (chemistry)

Sarah Barrineau ’09, Tiffany Davidson ’09, Kelsey Manley ’10, & Madeline Merrill ’10. The relationship between different types of incentive and participation in psychology studies among college students. [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • The present study looked at incentive in relation to the willingness of college age students to participate in psychology studies. The question this study aimed to answer is “What incentives are most likely to attract people to participate in psychology experiments?” Three e-mails were sent to the students of the University of the South at the same time on the same day, each specifying a different type of incentive available for participating in a “Research Methods Experiment.” the three different incentives were a $20 gift certificate to a popular local restaurant, free pizza and soda, or no incentive. The e-mail contained minimal information pertaining to the type of experiment being conducted—only location, time, and that the experiment was for a psychology class. The locations used were three separate classrooms on the same floor of the same building, each of which contained one of the three incentives. Participation based on incentive was determined by the number of participants that showed up to each room during the experiment and their responses to a questionnaire about why they decided to come to that particular study.

Lacy Brakefield ’10, Matt Marvin ’10, & Griffin Fry ’11. The effects of different genres of music on puzzle construction. [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • This study was designed to determine whether music has an effect on a person’s ability to perform a simple task. College students at The University of the South were asked to assemble three different puzzles where one puzzle was done in silence and the other two were done while music was playing. The procedures were randomized across participants. The time it took the participant to complete each puzzle was recorded. Our hypothesis was that music would have a negative effect on a person’s puzzle making ability thus taking more time to construct the puzzles while the music is playing.

Andi Broom ’10, Sally Haar ’11, Suzie Mellinger ’11, & Betsy West ’09. The effect of paper color on memorization of word lists. [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • The objective of this study was to provide some simple answers as to what may improve one’s ability to recall material when studying. Many students use either white notebook paper or yellow paper from a legal pad when studying or taking notes, and we were interested to see which color is more effective in a student’s ability to recall the material from the page. We sampled students at The University of the South, a small liberal arts college. Each student was given either white or yellow paper with one of two word lists printed on it. After being given time to memorize and recall the word list, the procedure was repeated for each student using the other paper color and word list. Across students, each word list was printed on both paper colors. Because most students use white paper, we hypothesized that students would recall more words from the lists printed on the white paper.

Callie Combs ’09, & Leafi Mobley ’09. Does knowing the brand of water affect preference? [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • About 1/4 of bottled water is actually bottled municipal tap water; yet consumers spend about $9 billion on this water every year. We tested whether knowledge of the brand label or type of water affected preference rankings. Fifty undergraduate students, 25 males and 25 females, participated in two trials of water tasting. Sam’s Choice, Fiji, Aquafina, and tap water were sampled in two taste trials. Participants were informed of the identity of each water sample on one trial, but not on the other trial. Participants’ rankings of the taste of the identified water samples did not differ significantly from the rankings for unidentified water samples. Our results suggest that labels in fact did not affect the ranking of bottled water and tap water.

Griffin Fry ’11, & Caroline McNair ’11. Naturalistic observations of attendance of Men’s and Women’s basketball games. [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • This study was designed to observe if the tendency for higher attendance at men’s sporting events applies to Sewanee sports as a Division III University. Naturalistic observations were conducted at four University basketball games (2 men’s games and 2 women’s games). Observations of 610 spectators were made and a statistically significant difference was found between the number of spectators at the men’s basketball games and the number of spectators at the women’s basketball games. The hypothesis that attendance at men’s games would be higher than attendance at women’s games was supported.

Joshua King ’11, Caroline Carlin ’11, & Hope Johnson ’11. Did you lock the door? A measure of dormitory security.

  • Security is of increasing concern at colleges and universities nationwide. With recent thefts and vandalism on its relatively small campus, Sewanee shares in this concern. An important component of campus security is the security of the student residence halls. To measure one aspect of student residential security, we investigated student dormitories near Sewanee’s central campus, checking whether students’ interior room doors were locked. In three different dormitories at two separate times on a single day, a total of 140 individual rooms were checked, consisting of 40 rooms in an all-male dorm, 30 rooms in an all-female dorm, and 70 rooms in a co-ed dorm. A surprisingly low level of security was observed for all dormitories at both times, regardless of the dormitory size and the gender of its residents, with 51–91% of uninhabited rooms found unlocked.

Miki Kotevski ’11, Emma Armstrong ’11, Cliff Cowan ’10, & Caroline McNair ’11. The Magic Eye, can one persuade another to see something that’s not? [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • We based this study on Ashe’s in the 50s where we had three confederates who supposedly knew the right answers, but did not. In these cases, the proctor gave hand signals for the confederates to either say they saw what was supposedly there or if they did not see anything at all. We gave the participants 30 seconds for the first four trials to see whether or not they saw the other picture in the magic eye. We then cut the time down to 10 seconds in order to see if the participants complied with the confederates by giving the same answer.

Hadley Mates ’11, Lauren Croasdaile ’11, Madison Suttie ’10, & Robert Daniels ’10. The effect of caffeine on test accuracy. [Psychology 251, Research Methods, project; Karen Yu, instructor]

  • Consuming caffeine before taking a test may improve concentration as well as increase the final score. This study was designed to determine if consuming one Red Bull energy drink affects performance on an SAT-style test. The participants were students from two Psychology 100 Lab classes at the University of the South. All students were given a pre-test. Then, a randomly assigned group was given a Red Bull energy drink consisting of 80 mg of caffeine, and then took a post-test while the other group took the post-test after consuming water.

Kaki Nix ’10, Darcy Cooper ’09, Stephanie Goodwin ’08, Matt Marvin ’10, & Callie Sadler ’09. Social pressures and alcohol consumption related to psychological sense of community. [Psychology 203, Social Psychology, project; Helen Bateman, instructor]

  • Alcohol consumption is extremely prevalent on college campuses throughout the nation. However, the motives for consuming alcohol vary with each individual. This study examines these possible motives, specifically social acceptance and social pressures, as they relate to the amount of alcohol individuals consume on a college campus. Furthermore, this study examines correlations between social pressures and other motives tested in the study. A recent, unpublished report (Bateman et al., 2006, 2007) found that students at Sewanee: The University of the South statistically drink more than other students at similar universities. This study is a follow-up study to the study above. This study also observes the relationship between psychological sense of community and alcohol consumption. In one summary, (McMillan et al., 1986) psychological sense of community is defined as a feeling of belonging to a group that meets specific needs and that the group accepts the individual unconditionally. This definition includes four specific requirements for psychology sense of community. These are: membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection (McMillan et al., 1986). Thus, a variation in alcohol consumption would affect this sense of community because it would alter all of these requirements. Another study on alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems (Neal et al., 2007) thought that being a member of a fraternity or a sorority was positively correlated with the amount of alcohol consumed by students.

Maggie Compton ’10, & Robert Osborne ’10. Biodiversity of the Domain.  [Maggie Compton is a double major in Psychology and Biology]

  • From information gathered and compiled by many people of past Advanced Conservation Biology classes and professors, we further edited and accumulated data about the different habitats and biodiversity found on the Sewanee Domain. We plan to provide a poster of the information and create a wall of biodiversity in order to promote the biodiversity of the Domain for current and future students of Sewanee and the surrounding communities.

Bradley J. Waffa ’08, & John R. Palisano, Professor of Biology. Sites of transmission in reptile-associated salmonellosis.   [Bradley J. Waffa is a Biology major with a minor in Psychology]

  • Salmonella spp. are endemic bacteria of the reptilian gastrointestinal tract. They are so highly prevalent that veterinary specialists assume all reptile specimens to be, at minimum, nonclinical carriers. Reptiles may continuously or intermittently shed Salmonella in their feces. Human exposure and accidental ingestion of these bacteria can lead to salmonellosis, a potentially lethal infection. Thus, pet owners are routinely advised to wash their hands, clean their animal’s enclosure, and avoid “kissing” their reptile pet. Salmonella spp. are gram-negative enterobacteria and, unlike endospore-forming bacteria, they are sensitive to desiccation. It seems unlikely that these bacteria could survive long on the dry, scaly surface of most reptiles, like the ever-popular ball python (Python regius). Do they really pose that great of a health risk to those who do not come in direct contact with their excrement? Where on a snake does transmission from a reptile to a human occur? This study examines one potential approach to these questions.